Blending minds and emotions

Young choreographer Idan Sharabi presents a complex piece as part of The Project.

'The Project' 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
'The Project' 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
It had been two weeks since their last rehearsal, and the dancers of the Tel Aviv Opera House’s Project seemed slightly tense before starting a run of a new work by Idan Sharabi. Of course, the dancers had spent those weeks in full-time rehearsals for the second part of their new program, which will premiere this week at TAPAC. The evening, which they have been working on for the past several months, is in two parts.
The first is by Sharabi and the second is Double/Single by legendary choreographer William Forsythe.
Sharabi went through small sections of his intricate piece, reminding the dancers of minute changes and details that had been added in their final rehearsals prior to the break.
“Let’s do it again,” Sharabi says calmly after one of the dancers missed his entrance. “I know why you were late and it’s fine. I understand. But if one person is off, we’re all off so let’s go again.”
The next time they tried the section, everyone made it on time.
The piece begins with the sound of applause, a clever inception for the audience. The sound structure of Sharabi’s work plays a major role in the emotional and compositional development of the piece. It is as if some invisible manic DJ, who can’t decide what record to put on, is operating the dancers. Splices of classical music, the theme song from Super Mario Brothers and text flicker on and off.
The dancers rush across, on and off the stage in time with what seems like completely random sounds.
“This is a good run, you guys!” Sharabi said in the middle of a group section. “I know you think it isn’t, but it really is.”
This is Sharabi’s first major choreographic engagement. Fresh out of the Batsheva Dance Company, Sharabi has spent the last several years in steady employment as a dancer. Several of his solos have been seen on local stages since his return to Israel from The Netherlands a year ago. Last summer he presented a group piece for several dancers at the Hot Dance Festival at the Suzanne Dellal Center. Then, several months ago, Mate Moray approached him about doing a work for The Project.
Until now, The Project has commissioned works exclusively by European-based artists such as Jacopo Godani, Emmanuel Gat and Marko Goecke. This is the first time the directors of The Project have extended a hand to a local choreographer.
To see him interact with his dancers is to see a young artist at the start of a fruitful career.
Sharabi’s recent experience as a dancer is an obvious advantage to him when attempting to extract the best from each member of his cast. He is without the set systems of operation that an older choreographer uses in the studio.
He was tender, generous and excited as he offered suggestions on how to improve certain movement qualities.
“Until now we’ve worked with our heads,” Sharabi said to his cast of 11. “But now we have to work with our emotions and our minds together.”
Though it is not always clear what the emotional intention of this piece is, it is apparent that the dancers are deeply engaged in the creative process.
“This piece is very demanding,” said dancer Dor Mamalia after the rehearsal was over. “With Idan, every movement has a reason. I have to do a lot of work for myself to understand how to give all these movements the meaning that he is looking for.”
One sentence repeats over and over throughout the 30 minutes of Sharabi’s piece, suggesting that it is the crux of this work. It is both spoken and recorded: “We may lay it down that a happy person never fantasizes. Only an unsatisfied one does so.”

The Project will run at TAPAC on October 13 and 14. For tickets, visit